For the past six years, Joel Domreis has lived like a character in a Portland comic book: in the shadows, biking by dawn to deliver batches of beans to select coffeeshops and individual addicts. Now he walks (well, rides) among us with his new shop, Courier Coffee, an intimate den of coffee cool in the former home of Half and Half, just around the corner from Powell’s Books downtown. In this spare storefront, friendly baristas hold court behind a slim walnut bar, just a handshake away from customers, carefully turning out Courier’s smooth roasts in pour-over coffee and lovely lattes. Courier roasts some of the best beans in a competitive city—and they’re never more than three days old.
Courier’s baker, Leala Humbert, crafts a collection of savory galettes, dainty muffiny things, and wonderfully weird granola bars that bring to mind haute birdseed, full of chewy, crunchy, dried-fruit goodness. You’ll feel like your molars have hit the treadmill, in a good way.
A turntable on the counter taps the house mood, Monk to Mötley Crüe, and everything has a found-art quality: books snagged from boxes on the street sit neatly on tiny tables, while the walls display hand-captioned photos from the likes of filmmaker Gus Van Sant and one-time Andy Warhol confidante Paige Powell—both instant Courier converts who quietly slipped rare glimpses from their collections into the space.
Domreis still delivers beans to select customers by bike, though beans can be bought at the store for $15 a pound. But his dream for Courier reaches beyond coffee: a big shelf to hold his coffee-roasting tomes, cookbooks, and vinyl collection, to inspire conversation with customers. Come, and sip it all in.